An introduction to the history of chinese immigration in the united states

Despite the foreign citizenship and illegal status of the parent, the executive branch of the U. The same is true of children born to tourists and other aliens who are present in the United States in a legal but temporary status. Since large-scale tourism and mass illegal immigration are relatively recent phenomena, it is unclear for how long the U.

An introduction to the history of chinese immigration in the united states

See Article History Alternative Title: Subsequent amendments to the law prevented Chinese labourers who had left the United States from returning.

The passage of the act represented the outcome of years of racial hostility and anti-immigrant agitation by white Americans, set the precedent for later restrictions against immigration of other nationalities, and started a new era in which the United States changed from a country that welcomed almost all immigrants to a gatekeeping one.

It lasted for 10 years and was extended for another 10 years by the Geary Act, which also required that people of Chinese origin carry identification certificates or face deportation. Later measures placed a number of other restrictions on the Chinese, such as limiting their access to bail bonds and allowing entry to only those who were teachers, students, diplomats, and tourists.

Congress closed the gate to Chinese immigrants almost entirely by extending the Chinese Exclusion Act for another 10 years in and making the extension indefinite in The Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed in with the passage of the Magnuson Act, which permitted a quota of Chinese immigrants annually.

Various factors contributed to the repeal, such as the quieted anti-Chinese sentimentthe establishment of quota systems for immigrants of other nationalities who had rapidly increased in the United States, and the political consideration that the United States and China were allies in World War II.

Causes and effects Many scholars explain the institution of the Chinese Exclusion Act and similar laws as a product of the widespread anti-Chinese movement in California in the second half of the 19th century.

The Chinese had constituted a significant minority on the West Coast since the middle of the 19th century. Initially, they laboured in gold mines, where they showed a facility for finding gold.

As a result, they encountered hostility and were gradually forced to leave the field and move to urban areas such as San Franciscowhere they were often confined to performing some of the dirtiest and hardest work. Americans in the West persisted in their stereotyping of the Chinese as degraded, exotic, dangerous, and competitors for jobs and wages.

In other words, the exclusion was the result of a grassroots anti-Chinese sentiment. Other scholars have argued that the exclusion should be blamed on top-down politics rather than a bottom-up movement, explaining that national politicians manipulated white workers to gain an electoral advantage.

The exclusion laws had dramatic impacts on Chinese immigrants and communities. They significantly decreased the number of Chinese immigrants into the United States and forbade those who left to return. According to the U. Chinese immigrants were placed under a tremendous amount of government scrutiny and were often denied entry into the country on any possible grounds.

Upon arrival there a Chinese immigrant could be detained from weeks to years before being granted or denied entry. Chinese communities underwent dramatic changes as well.

Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum

Families were forced apart, and businesses were closed down. Because of the severe restrictions on female immigrants and the pattern of young men migrating alone, there emerged a largely bachelor society.

Under the continuing anti-Chinese pressure, Chinatowns were established in urban cities, where the Chinese could retreat into their own cultural and social colonies. The excluded Chinese did not passively accept unfair treatment, however, but rather used all types of tools to challenge or circumvent the laws.

One such tool was the American judicial system. Despite having come from a country without a litigious tradition, Chinese immigrants learned quickly to use courts as a venue to fight for their rights and won many cases in which ordinances aimed against the Chinese were declared unconstitutional by either the state or federal courts.

They also protested against racial discrimination through other venuessuch as the media and petitions. Some Chinese simply evaded the laws altogether by immigrating illegally. In fact, the phenomenon of illegal immigration became one of the most significant legacies of the Chinese-exclusion era in the United States.

Despite the disproportionate time and resources spent by U. Thus, Chinese exclusion was not only an institution that produced and reinforced a system of racial hierarchy in immigration law, but it was also a process that both immigration officials and immigrants shaped and a realm of power dominance, struggle, and resistance.

The impact of the exclusion laws went beyond restricting, marginalizingand, ironically, activating the Chinese.

An introduction to the history of chinese immigration in the united states

It signaled the shift from a previously open immigration policy in the United States to one in which the federal government exerted control over immigrants. Criteria were gradually set regarding which people—in terms of their ethnicitygender, and class—could be admitted.

Immigration patterns, immigration communities, and racial identities and categories were significantly affected. The very definition of what it meant to be an American became more exclusionary. Meanwhile, Chinese-exclusion practices shaped immigration law during that time period.

Believing that courts gave too much advantage to the immigrants, the government succeeded in cutting off Chinese access to the courts and gradually transferred administration of Chinese-exclusion laws completely to the Bureau of Immigration, an agency operating free from court scrutiny.

By the enforcement of the exclusion laws had become centralized, systematic, and bureaucratic.The history of Chinese Americans or the history of ethnic Chinese in the United States relates to the three major waves of Chinese immigration to the United States with the first beginning in the 19th century.

Chinese immigrants in the 19th century worked as laborers, particularly on the transcontinental railroad, such as the Central Pacific Railroad. The famous call of Emma Lazarus to the Old World to "give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" led approximately 35 million immigrants to America between and In recent years, a concerted effort has been gathering force to allow new immigrants to the United States to vote without becoming citizens.

Related Content

It is being mounted by an alliance of liberal (or progressive, if you prefer) academics and law professors, local and state political leaders most often associated with the Democratic Party or other progressive .

By the midth century, the United States had what could be called a fledgling restaurant culture at best, while much of China had had many centuries worth of experience in hospitality. Download a pdf version of this Backgrounder Jon Feere is the Legal Policy Analyst at the Center for Immigration Studies.

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.” -- U.S. Const. amend. XIV, § 1 Introduction.

restriction against immigration was the Chinese Exclusion Act, passed by Congress in , prohibiting for a period of 10 years the immigration of Chinese labourers into the United act was both the culmination of more than a decade of agitation on the West Coast for the exclusion of.

Chinese Exclusion Act | United States [] |